Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Audiobook Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristen Terrill

All Our Yesterdays by Cristen Terrill
Series: No Series
Genre: Dystopia/Contemporary
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"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She's tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called "the doctor" while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend, James, since they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America's most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James's life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina's hopes for their future. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was. Em and Marina are in a race against time that only one of them can win. (from goodreads)

Oh boy, this is quite an unusual book.

I listened to the audiobook version and, while I did like it, I cannot help but wish I had the print copy to read. I really think it would have made that time paradox description easier to understand - but then again, I've always had some trouble understanding the laws of time travel.

Anyway, I went into this book with little knowledge about it - and with this book, that's exactly the way to go. While I think I figured some of the stuff out fairly quickly, it was still a lot of fun not really knowing where the story was headed.

In theory, if I were to go back in time to kill my grandfather that event would become fixed by my action. Because he's dead, I would never be born. But a remnant of me from my original time - a kind of shadow - would always be there to kill my grandfather and insure he stayed dead.

I find the plot really amazing. All that time travel stuff and confusion and trying to figure out what in the world is going on for the first bit of the story and…Well, I actually like being confused when I first start a story. I like that first introduction to the world to throw me right in the middle of the story - and this book did just that.

Imagine that you live in a dystopian future (police state and all) and that you are a prisoner. Now imagine that your captor has a time machine. Finally, imagine that you find a note from yourself telling you to go back in time and that you must kill someone.

The plot likes to keep you guessing (though I do admit I guessed right I do believe every single time a major reveal was on the way - but that's part of the fun for me) and I got a lot more emotionally invested than I ever expected.

The characters though… Okay, first you meet Em and Finn. I didn't get immediately attached to Em, but she is a tough girl and has some very human weaknesses. I think the main reason I didn't bond with her at first is because of all the screaming she does early on and hearing all that in audio book format is very jarring. Finn is, honestly, the kind of guy I tend to like right away. He's surprisingly sweet, but has this sense of humor that is wonderful and when mixed with Em's is kind of epic.

Next, in the rotating first person pov, you get to read about Marina and James. Marina is…mostly likable, but a bit of a bitch sometimes. Nothing major, but she's suitably self-absorbed and can have a really abrasive personality. When I first met James I was very unimpressed. Typical handsome, nerdy golden boy, I thought, but he showed a lot more depth than I thought he would and I became really interested in him.

The characters and the plotline combined to make this a near perfect book for me, honestly. I love how the plotline feels a little superhero-y and the way the genre kept shifting. This moment it would be just a typical coming of age romance drama - but then the next moment it would be a sci-fi thriller or a - well, what ever genre this story was.

The only major complaint I have is the ending. I've never really liked the way this story was resolved and I actually feel a little cheated with the ending. Also, and this is really personal preference, I spent a good portion of the book wishing that it wasn't told in first person present tense. I kind of hate preset tense and would have loved this book much more if a few more people would have been point-of-view characters. (I would have given anything to know what was going on in James and Finn's heads.)

I think this book would really appeal to a lot of people, not only because of how unique it is, but also because it has a little bit of many different things in it. It has romance and drama and tragedy and science fiction and time-travel and even a bit of dystopian and I really think this is a book that could appeal to many people.

I know that I am glad I got ahold of it - even considering that I almost passed on it because of the rotating first person pov. I'm pretty sure that one day I'll be buying a physical copy of the book so I can actually read it, instead of just audio book format (which I totally lucked out on and got for free).